Thu, Feb

FIFA pays TTFA staff outstanding salaries.

The office staff at the T&T Football Association has finally been paid after four months waiting.

Guardian Media Sports was reliably informed yesterday that office staff members each received lump sum payments for March, April, May and June last week, which accumulated to approximately $400,000 in total.

Guardian Media Sports was also told that the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee which is being led by businessman Robert Hadad and includes retired banker Nigel Romano and attorney Judy Daniel, is expected to make another payment of an estimated $600,000 to all the national team coaches.

However, the senior men's team coach Terry Fenwick, will not be among the paysheet since his contract has been a subject of public scrutiny for various reasons.

A TTFA staff member also spoke to us on condition of anonymity and confirmed the staff has been paid.

Guardian Media Sports was also told that apart from coach Fenwick, both Shaun Fuentes, the TTFA's Media Officer and Ramesh Ramdhan, the football association's general secretary, were also not paid.

The payments, it is understood, were wired directly to the accounts of the staff members via a special account from an unknown company. According to the source, the monies were made available from the FIFA payment of US$3.5 million which represents grant funding to Member Associations and an additional amount for the FIFA Relief Fund which was given to help member associations through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which has severely affected sports all over the world since March to present.

Guardian Media Sports attempted to reach Nigel Romano for a response but calls and messages to his phone went unanswered.

The source told Guardian Media Sports: "It is uncertain why Fuentes was not paid, but there are concerns about Ramdhan's two-year deal which have prevented him from being paid."

Since accepting the position as general secretary in December last year, the former T&T and FIFA referee, who also had a short employment stint with FIFA, the world governing body for the sport, has not been paid.

Ramdhan could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Guardian Media Sports understands that there are opposing views with regards the interpretation of article 39 of TTFA's constitution between the Board of Directors of the T&TFA and the President, on whether the terms of the contract for the general secretary, should be determined by the president, or the board members.

The board, on December 14, 2019, voted for Ramdhan's contract on a one-year deal.

However, in June through a media release the former president William Wallace, stated that his position allowed him ultimate power to decide on the contract of the general secretary.

On June 17, Wallace was called to answer questions about the contracts of Fenwick, Ramdhan, Peter Miller, the football association's marketing representative, and the Avec Sports sportswear deal which was set to cost a whopping $25 million.

It is uncertain whether salaries will be forthcoming at the end of this month.

The normalisation committee and the ousted TTFA executive which comprises vice presidents Clynt Taylor, Susan Joseph-Warrick, Joseph Sam Phillip and Wallace have been in a battle for ownership of the football association's bank accounts held at First Citizens Bank, as well as the right to use the TTFA letterhead.

First Citizens through its attorney Kendell Alexander told both the TTFA and the normalisation committee that it would hand over the accounts to any party that presents a legal document showing ownership.